February 21, 2002, 12:00 AM — Fight the monopoly domination of operating systems and applications.
Teach your kids Linux. You, too, can fight the power.
It remains such a stereotype that kids learn to program VCRs while
their parents still have trouble setting the VCR clock, let alone
learning to program the machines. Kids learn quickly, and the so-called
high technology doesn't seem to stump kids at all. I know my four-year-
old can recognize the cancel button on dialog windows and she cannot
even read yet.
Kids don't seem to have much problems with Windows, launching programs,
and moving the mouse. So, take advantage of the great learning ability
of kids and teach them Linux. As they grow, they will be familiar with
Linux and hopefully won't want to use Windows as they grow.
To help teach kids how to use Linux, you might want to start with a
desktop environment such as GNOME or KDE and then add in some age-
appropriate games. You can find links to a number of Linux games at
http://www.linuxgames.com/ and http://happypenguin.org.
One program stands out for teaching kids on computers, GCompris.
GCompris provides a learning game for children that includes a number
of simple games intended more for the younger set than those who enjoy
Quake or Civilization. The games teach children numbers, shapes, and
telling time, although some of the games concentrate on algebra for
Games are built on top of boards, which use the GTK Canvas widget.
GCompris comes with a number of boards, described at
http://www.ofset.org/gcompris/screenshoots.html. GCompris is named
after the French phrase j'ai compris, which means "I have understood".
The game supports a number of languages.
Download GCompris from SourceForge at
http://sourceforge.net/project/showfiles.php?group_id=6865. A full
manual is available at http://www.ofset.org/gcompris/gcompris.html.
Hey, what better way to defeat the Windows monopoly than to train your
kids how to use Linux?